cbd oil legal for law enforcement

Police officer argues he used CBD supplements, not THC, gets job back

A Lafayette Police officer will get his job back after he failed drug screening, the Lafayette Fire and Police Civil Service Board ruled.

Officer Bernard Anderson was fired in June for violating Lafayette Consolidated Government’s illicit drug policy after his screening showed he tested positive for marijuana metabolite.

He told Internal Affairs investigators he was taking a CBD supplement as a sleep aid and never ingested marijuana.

Because marijuana immediately begins to break down in the body, some drug labs choose to test for marijuana metabolite, which stays in the system longer and is specific to traditional marijuana, a doctor testified before the board.

CBD (Cannabidiol) is derived from hemp plants, which are the same species as marijuana but contain virtually none of the psychoactive compounds that get people high. To be legal in Louisiana, CBD must contain less than 0.3% of THC.

The board voted 3-1 to give Anderson his job back with pay.

“I find that the lack of progress in testing and the technology that is available in something as innocent as sleep drops,” board member Christina Olivier said, “that the city did not act in good faith and just cause.”

Mickey Broussard was the one dissenting vote, arguing Anderson violated the city’s drug policy.

Michael Corry, the attorney representing the police department and LCG, argued Anderson violated the city’s zero-tolerance drug policy when his test came back positive.

Anderson’s attorney, Allyson Prejean, argued that because there is no specific policy for CBD and the test could not determine whether the positive test was attributed to CBD or marijuana, Anderson should get his job back.

Anderson was involved in an on-duty car accident on Dec 24, 2020, and, per department policy, had to take a drug test. The test came back positive for marijuana metabolite, Dr. Paul Bergeron testified. Anderson asked for a retest and the marijuana metabolite was still there.

Bergeron said in some cases, consistent CBD use could lead to a positive drug test. He also testified he could not determine whether the marijuana metabolite came from CBD or an illegal THC product.

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An Internal Affairs investigation was launched. Anderson told the investigator he had trouble sleeping so his wife suggested a CBD supplement. The manufacturer had given samples at the hospital where she worked as a nurse.

Other nurses she worked with had success with the supplement and had no problems when given random drug tests at work, she testified.

Anderson told the investigator he never ingested marijuana. He also took a computer voice stress analyzer. During the test, Anderson was asked if he had used illegal drugs or used marijuana in the past year, Det. Jonathan Sanchez testified.

Anderson answered “no” to both questions and Sanchez said did not detect any deception in the stress levels.

His wife, a co-worker and supervising sergeant all testified they had never known Anderson to take illicit drugs, use marijuana or appear to be under the influence of illicit drugs.

Sen. Fred Mills was called to testify about his knowledge of CBD and the differences between CBD and illicit marijuana and argued there’s no testing to tell the difference.

Anderson was fired on June 25 for violating LCG’s zero-tolerance drug policy, which terminates employees who test positive for any level of illicit drug as outlined in the policy, Human Resources manager Rick Zeno testified.

Two other officers, Jonathan Rabb and Maverick Morvant, withdrew their appeals. Few details were shared about their discipline but Morvant was suspended for 30 calendar days and Rabb was suspended for 10 calendar days.

Low THC Oil – FAQ for Law Enforcement

Georgia’s new medical marijuana law allows certain qualified persons to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of “low THC oil,” which is derived from the marijuana plant. It authorizes the Georgia Department of Public Health to issue a “Georgia Low THC Oil Registry Card” to qualified persons, which will prove that they are authorized to have the oil in their possession.

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How does the law compare to laws in other states which have adopted medical marijuana?

Georgia’s law is much more limited than some other states’ medical marijuana laws. For example, it does not legalize the sale or possession of marijuana in leaf form. It does not authorize the production or sale of food products infused with low THC oil or the ingestion of low THC oil through vapor. It does not authorize physicians to prescribe marijuana for medical use. It is intended solely to protect qualified persons from criminal prosecution for possessing low THC oil for medicinal purposes.

Who is allowed to obtain a Georgia Low THC Oil Registry Card?

There are three categories of persons who may apply for the card:

  1. an adult who has one or more of the diseases specified in the law;
  2. legal guardians of an adult who has one or more of the diseases specified in the law;
  3. parents or legal guardians of a minor child who has one or more of the diseases specified in the new law.
    A doctor’s certification is required.

What does a Georgia Low THC Registry card look like?

Information on Front of Card:

To be considered valid, the front of the card should be varying shades of orange. Language on the front of the card should include “State of Georgia,” “Low THC Oil Registration Card” and “CALL DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH TO VERIFY: 1-866-PUB-HLTH.” Information on the front of the card should include the card holder’s name, address and date of birth, as well as the card’s issue date, expiration date and unique serial number. Look for the official State Seal in white and the shaded outline of the state of Georgia in the lower right corner of the card.

Information on Back of Card:

To be considered valid, the back of the card should be white and contain a bar code, number and the following language: “IN ACCORDANCE WITH O.C.G.A. SECTION 31-2A-18 THIS CERTIFIES THAT CAREGIVER IS DULY REGISTERED WITH AND AUTHORIZED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH TO POSSESS UP TO 20 FLUID OUNCES OF LOW THC OIL”

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Note: 1-866-PUB-HLTH will be staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and will be available to verify whether a person is current in the registry.

Cards may be laminated to protect the information printed on them by the Office of Vital Records.

What do I do if a card is expired?

Cards will be valid for two years from the date they are issued. The expiration date can be found on the front of the card. If you believe a card has expired, please call 1-866-PUB-HLTH to verify the card is no longer valid.

What does low THC oil look like?

Low THC oil packaging may vary in appearance. However, the law requires that the low THC oil be “in a pharmaceutical container labeled by the manufacturer indicating the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol therein,” be less than 5 percent tetrahydrocannabinol by weight, and that the amount of oil in the container – or containers – not exceed 20 fluid ounces total.

Does the law allow Georgians to possess other forms of marijuana?

No. The law does not legalize the possession of any types of marijuana in Georgia except 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil for persons with a valid Georgia Low THC Registry Card. Under House Bill 324, businesses licensed by the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission may grow marijuana for the purposes of manufacturing low THC oil and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia. Possession of any other form of marijuana by anyone not authorized to possess it remains a violation of state and federal law.

Does the law authorize the sale of low THC oil in Georgia?

Under House Bill 324, the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, which is administratively assigned to the Secretary of State’s Office, will oversee the growing, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Public Health does not prescribe or dispense low THC oil.